Wednesday, September 21, 2016
It seems that every strong Clinton supporter, and every strong Trump supporter (or, perhaps more accurately, every Anti-Clinton Voter and every Anti-Trump Voter) has been working overtime in the mainstream media and on social media to convince people not to vote for a third party in 2016. "After all, they won't win...and that will only help Candidate X win," they say. They don't seem to understand that even if there were no third parties, I would not vote for either Clinton or Trump.
And to be honest, many of them try to give me constructive advice: "Please, this is a two-party nation, and only one of the two major party candidates can win. Why don't you work within one of the major parties to make effective change instead?," they plead.
Because history has shown that won't work.
There are only two factors that motivate party policy.
The first is money. And sorry, I don't have enough to influence either party in that respect.
The second is votes - and more important, winning elections.
When they win, they assume they touched on the right issues in the right way, and ran their ground games in an effective and successful way. If what you want is more of the exact same nonsense that both major parties have handed out, then by all means, vote for a major party. They will assume that their win means they did everything correctly, and you can expect more of the same in the years to come.
When they lose, they must admit that they did something wrong, and begin the process of looking at polls and votes and voter turnout rates to see where they lost ground.
Want to send a message to the major parties to make them seriously examine what they have done this election cycle? FORCE THEM TO RE-EVALUATE WHAT THEY'VE DONE.
It is a Media cliché at this point to speak of 'blue states' and 'red states' and 'battleground states.' But the number of states on the edge is far bigger than anyone could imagine this year.
This year, in 36 states, polls show that the combined support for Libertarian Gary Johnson and Green Party candidate Jill Green exceeds the margin of difference between the Republicans and Democrats. These states represent 358 Electoral votes: far more than the 270 needed to win.
The table below indicates the margin of difference between Clinton and Trump, and the combined 3rd Party support, as published by the Washington Post 50-state poll on September 6:
And, to further drive home the point, here is a map (courtesy of 270towin.com). Red states are runaway Trump, Blue states are runaway Clinton, and the Grey states represent those states where the 3rd Party support now exceeds the difference between them:
So there you have it.
Are the chances slim that a 3rd Party candidate will win the election outright? Yes.
Are the chances large that the 3rd Party vote might tip an election in some of these state one way or another? Yes.
Are the chances even larger that a party that loses a state - or even comes close to losing - will need to examine what they're doing wrong? ENORMOUS.
No, your vote for a Third Party is not a wasted vote; rather, it is the most significant way you have demanding change in the system.
Thursday, March 03, 2016
Both parties deserve blame for creating the rise of what amounts to a Fascist candidate for President.
For years, Republicans have promoted and courted – usually with a wink and a knowing glance – racial and xenophobic politics. Mean-spirited attacks on the poor, demanding drug-testing for those on financial assistance and efforts to cut food stamp benefits – have been laced with an effort to generate warfare against a tiny portion of the population, even while slavishly throwing trillions of dollars at industry and runaway military spending. The purposeful intention has been to create an “us-versus-them” philosophy, blaming the poor, immigrants, and every “easy target” as the enemy. Beginning with Nixon’s “southern strategy” in the late 1960s, the GOP has actively courted a base that sees enemies all around. “Family Values” has become a buzzword in campaign literature for blaming gays and single mothers for the nation’s ills. Memes designed to justify the Police State and marginalize minorities have been carefully constructed to tap the darkest feelings of fear in every working-class, blue-collar white man in America. YOU, Republicans, created this monster: by courting this phenomenon, you always believed you could rely on those votes, without ever thinking that the voting block you created would ever rise, pitchforks in hand, to turn against you. Well, my friends, the chickens are coming home to roost. Trump has seized on this fear, and launched a classic fascist campaign, blaming immigrants and the poor for the economic mess we are in, cheering physical confrontation at campaign rallies, and openly showing disdain for the First and Fourth Amendments. Your subtle – and not-so-subtle – history of using racial and ethnic warfare as a standard campaign tool has created a populace that is actually acting on their fears.
But Democrats, please do not think you have had no role in this. The GOP has courted these people, but you have enraged them. One only needs to peruse the facebook postings and newspaper Op Ed pages to see how your response has to take this group of the electorate and further marginalize them. Examples of elitist, nasty, and disdainful comments directed against southerners, poor whites, evangelicals, and those who have jumped on the Trump bandwagon are plenty. By viewing – and branding - this group of the electorate as stupid, uneducated yokels, and pick-up driving redneck gun-toters with small penises - you have done what the GOP could never do: you marginalized a group that already feels fear and marginalization, and added to their anger and feelings of isolation. You don’t win hearts and minds by telling people they are stupid. Rather than build bridges and show how your policies might actually benefit these people, you have chosen, in your words and actions, to treat them like sub-Americans.
In other words, the GOP has convinced these people that there are un-American enemies out there who want to destroy their ways of life. You have answered the call by confirming that you despise these people, and that you need to legislate against their wishes “for their own good.”
Sociologically, the two major parties have created a disaffected group of low-income and middle-income Americans who are reeling under economic pressures and feel alienated, taken advantage of, and ignored by government leaders. A powerless sub-class. And they have now found their voice in Trump.
Meanwhile, both parties ignore their fears and anger: Both parties have spent us into unending debt, both parties have propped up a corrupt Banking Regime, both parties have refused to fix a broken immigration system, and both parties have acted in the interests of Big Pharma, Monsanto, and crony capitalism. Even as I write, even the Democratic National Committee is moving to eviscerate the Financial Consumer Protection Agency.
The prospect of a Trump Presidency is scary. But more scary is the situation that both Democrats and Republicans have created by pandering for votes, by playing divide and conquer with racial and class politics.
The Trump phenomenon is the result of a classic failure of career politicians to lead. He is your creation.